Friday, September 15, 2017

Beginnings of the Pratt and Whitney aircraft engine company

In 1924, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation had just introduced the Whirlwind radial engine but the team that had developed the engine was not pleased with the direction management was taking the company. 
The president resigned, as did gifted engine designer George J. Mead and other members of the engineering team. Talks with officers of the Niles Bement and Pond company of Hartford Conn., a large machine tool company led to the formation of a new aircraft engine company named after the wing of the company building they would be located in. George Mead and his small team got immediately to work in a drawing office set up in Andy Wilgoos's garage in New Jersey. Six months later the first prototype of the new Wasp was assembled and running.
By the end of WW2, twenty years later, the company had built over 375,000 radial engines.
The factory on Capitol St. in Hartford. The first Wasp engine was built and assembled in the second building from the left foreground. Below, the complex today.

Cary Hoge Mead, Wings over the World, The Life of George Jackson Mead, The Swannet Press 1971

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